I’m giving the iWatch a hard side-eye. Apple.com says “Coming Early 2015!”
This is me looking at my watch and muttering, it’s early 2015, people. Where’s the damn watch?
I just clicked over to the Apple site and, well, it sure is pretty. The thing is, if I buy Gen-1, I’ll be all sad because I’ll be too poor to afford the new model when it comes out, but if I don’t get it, I’ll be sad because I don’t have a new toy to play with.
Anyway, I still love my Pebble, and it’s my love for the Pebble that makes me so excited about the iWatch. I found an app for my Pebble that makes it do fitness stuff. Like counting steps, plus it works when you’re on a treadmill, which is good. It’s supposed to be able to track your sleep but, and I’ll be honest here, I’m too lazy to set it up. But the step thing just works. In fact, for a while after I added the app to the watch, I didn’t even check because I figured I’d have to set it up, and I hate reading instructions even more than I hate being frustrated by a non-intuitive UI. Imagine my surprise when I accidentally ended up at the app after pressing the down button one time too many and there it was telling me I’d walked 5,000 steps…. See, that’s the best kind of interface, one where it just works. So, now I’m checking my steps and being all proud of myself after the morning workout and walking around the office all day.
I also like seeing who’s calling without having to look at the phone, or being able to check a text without checking the phone etc. But, from the
videos movies films of the iWatch, it’s interactive in a way the Pebble is not. So, I ask you? If I can afford the iWatch, how am I going to resist?
Are You Talking To Me?
I still like the Echo. Timers are awesome. And flash briefings are still my favorite. I’ve started using the shopping list thing more. Now I have a serious wish. I wish I could say, “set a timer for [some period] and tell me [some phrase]” So I would say, “Alexa, set a timer for 7.5 minutes, coffee” and at the end of 7.5 minutes the timer would go off and the Echo would say “JSON, your coffee is ready.” I want that and I want it bad. Think about how useful that would be! Multiple timers and alarms, so you’d be reminded to take your medicine, or “You have a doctor’s appointment in 30 minutes, do you know where you keys are?” It would not be unheard of for me to set an alarm or timer and have it go off and I’m sitting there going, wha?
You could set that up from a calender …. Google Calendar, maybe, or iCal, and if there was an API (Are you listening, Amazon???) you could hook up your calendar event (if you wanted to) to the Echo, and that would be beyond awesome. Then you could get the Echo to tell you what appointments you have coming up. And if you could phone home to Echo, you could call a number and your Echo could tell you stuff!
Hands Free Driving
I also want a self-driving car. I want to sit in the car and let it drive me where I need to go. (Please, no getting frisky in the comments. Hell already called and said they’re not letting me in.)
Notifications that actually Notify
Maybe your bank is different, but mine sends me text messages and emails about balance activities and amounts and they are always 48 hours behind. I don’t care if I had money two days ago. That doesn’t mean I have money today. That was then, this is now. Get with it.
OK, that last one was really just me complaining. Banks have the technology and ability to contact you about your money in a timely manner, but if they did that, how would they charge you for not remembering the date of one of your bill pays and buying something shiny when you should have waited till next pay period?
What technology do you wish for? Pretend no one’s going to scrape the data and sell it to spammers.
A hands free car sounds really nice.
I would like an autochef like in the In Death series by JD Robb. I would also like a self-cleaning house. Or if that’s too pie in the sky, I would settle for a dryer that folds clothes and a dishwasher that puts the dishes away.
I would like a phone that is big like the Note, but which magically shrinks to fit in my pocket. Seriously I need to get a new cell phone soon and as much as I love my Sony Xperia I cannot picture getting a bigger phone but do like the features of the bigger phones. I also need an app which will magically do all the research one needs to do when purchasing items like new phones, laptops, etc.
As I was showing my iPhone 6 to my coworker who has the iPhone 6 Plus and we were swapping happy Mac cult stories, he told me, “You are going to get that iWatch, you know.”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes you are.”
“No I’m not. I am strong.”
“You’re gonna get it.”
Regarding the alarms, oh man, I need Siri to tell me stuff like this. It’s not enough for the alarm to be called the oven alarm because like hell if I pay attention to text; I just want to turn the annoying alarm off; why is it going off in the first place? Did I leave something on from yesterday? And about forty minutes later I will smell the burning from the kitchen, and it’s all, “Fuck.”
Bank of America has daily and real-time notifications you can program to send. When I was with them I got sent a daily balance as well as an email every damned time something happened in my account. My gas bill went through? Email and SMS. Here is your updated balance. I bought a latte? Email and SMS. Here is your updated balance. It was amazing. I have nothing like this with my current bank and I miss it badly.
I want an alarm that says “put that donut down, it will add another 3 pounds”. Seriously, I love gadgets. I would LOVE a car that drives itself, more time to read!
I think your suggestion for the Echo is perfectly reasonable. I use the alarm feature on iPhone (as opposed to the simple timer) when I might forget what it is that I need to be reminded of, and label the alarm e.g. eBay or TV or Mum.
I’ve already decided that although I crave an iWatch I’ll wait for the second generation (unless it’s aeons away) because there’s often such an improvement from one to the next.
I really do not want a hands-free car!! When I feel that urge I’ll satisfy it by sitting at the front of a double-decker bus.
I want the Surface Pro 3, but with the Apple operating system. (I suspect I have a better chance of getting a flying car.)
JSON, I don’t know if you ever read romance, but this post reminds me a lot of Courtney Milan’s latest book, TRADE ME. The hero’s dad is basically Steve Jobs – he runs a tech company called Cyclone which is launching their latest product, a videophone watch that can do everything. I don’t like that kind of tech at all in real life, but I did laugh a lot at the scenes in the book because they are so perfectly Apple.
On cars that drive themselves: I used to Iive across the street from the National Center for the Blind. A few years ago, they blocked all traffic to the surrounding streets and had all parking blocked too…so members at their facility could test drive vehicles with sensors/programming that controlled navigation without interference or fear of crash. It was very stop-start and not great in terms of position orientation. But I assume it means that driverless cars aren’t that far off.
I read your article on the Echo and it sounded fascinating. However, a few days ago, I read an article about Samsung’s Smart tv recording, saving and then selling all voice commands and conversations picked up by the tv to a third party. Does this concern you with the Echo?
@Library addict: An expanding screen. Oh, yes. Resize your phone so it’s the size it needs to be. I want that too.
The auto-everything house would be awesome, too.
@Jan: Jan: Someone made a similar concern about what Amazon does with the Echo. But listening for a key word (“Alexa”) is not the same as recording every word spoken:
Amazon Echo uses on-device keyword spotting to detect the wake word. When Amazon Echo detects the wake word, Amazon Echo streams audio to the Cloud, including a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word.
Here’s the link to additional information: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201602230
In addition, it is possible to turn off the microphones such that no listening or recording takes places.
The Samsung TV, per the language I saw, is recording and sending at all times.
That’s a problem, and I’m appalled that Samsung thought that was OK. I expect some serious backlash from that.
In a response to a similar comment on my original post (but not referencing the Samsung TV) I mentioned that these issues required legislation since, obviously, companies can and do behave in unconscionable behavior.
@Suzanne: Oh, boy, yes to all that!
@TrishJ: LOL as to the “put that donut down!”
Self-driving car. Yes, Yes. Yes.
@HJ: Ah, HJ, you appear to be lucky enough to live where there is excellent public transportation. Here in the US there are a handful of cities where a car isn’t needed. Everywhere else? It’s a combination of how large the US is— drive for 8 hours in California and you’re still in California, — and how little the country has invested in public transportation. I lived for some time in a city with an excellent bus, rail, and ferry transportation system and I didn’t need or even own a car for 20 some years. I think many of us in the US think of our commutes and shopping trips and a self-driving car seems like heaven. At least if you’re stuck in traffic going 35mph in a self-driving car you can read a book or something.
And yes, about the timers. I would love to be able to tack on a reminder about what the alarm is for. Siri, Echo, whatever. Someone needs to get on that.
@Ros: I do read Romance from time to time. Ms. Milan’s contemporary is queued up in my Kindle.
I want an app or device–let’s call it Fair Play as a nod to Heinlein’s Fair Witness in SiaSL–that records every conversation in which I participate. The recordings must be searchable so I can play back all those times my husband claims “I didn’t say that” and prove him wrong, wrong, wrong. In a nice way, of course.
@Shannon Stacey: Every time I look at the Surface, I think, that’s a nice piece of equipment. My niece had an early model and it was good, better than the Android tablets I’ve played with. And I agree, a Surface with iOS would be nice — it would solve those pesky issues where Microsoft hasn’t decoupled itself from UI issues that plague Windows to this day. I could live with that, but then I look at the price, and I gulp. I wish they’d get serious and lower the price by good chunk.
@Darlynne: This is, of course, the sharp edge of technology. For every “good” use there is an equal and opposite “evil” use. I’ve often wished I could prove a past conversation as you said.
But, jumping off from your comment, I have to say I don’t understand why businesses/technology don’t recognize that everything can be used for evil and therefore, design should include protections against those uses. As in the issue with the Samsung TV. It would be awesome, for example, to have a responsive house — but to record every word that’s said and sell it to 3rd parties? That’s evil.
It’s profoundly evil. I’d bet money there’s a back door, if not in the Samsung device itself then on the servers. Samsung can go eff itself as far as I’m concerned,
@IAM JSON: Agreed. My version would have built-in immutable safeguards (somehow, work with me here).
I’d also be happy with Library addict’s suggestions, as well as a replicator for everything, not just food.
@jmc: Google has been test driving self-driving cars here in Nor Cal for several years now. The Oatmeal, believe it or not, has a very interesting post on his experience with the Google car: http://theoatmeal.com/blog/google_self_driving_car
Close, but not yet.
And that’s why conversations like these ultimately frustrate me.
Forgive me for being a Grumpy Gertrude, but instead of pouring billions into inventing what — let’s face it — are mostly new toys for the rich, I would really really like it if the US would maintain the twentieth-century tech it already has.
I’d gladly give up any chance of being electronically notified that my coffee is ready if I could take a train or bus to work, instead of spending hours on crumbling roads. I’d cheerfully exchange a watch that could talk to my television and oven for an assurance that the power grid that keeps them running isn’t about to collapse. I don’t want a solar-powered phone that keeps tracks of my steps as badly as I want professionals at the power plants and food processors and water treatment centers that keeps track of the poisons going into everything I breathe and eat and drink.
I know I sound like a No-Fun Nellie, but I can’t help but feel that as a society, our priorities are a little screwy.
@hapax: I think you’re taking this as an either/or (i.e. false dilemma fallacy). It’s not. Why does one preclude the other? Also, the manufacturing of new technology isn’t necessarily controlled by the people controlling the other. Bla bla bla capitalist society bla bla free market. Bla bla bla government infrastructure bla bla.
I am all for public transportation. I’ve intentionally never owned a car and I take the bus. But just because it needs to be improved in some areas doesn’t mean innovators should stop innovating with their passions.
Also, many tech toys aren’t just for the rich. These days, almost anyone in a first-world country can afford a smartphone. They are cheap. Maybe everyone can’t afford the latest iPhone (I didn’t pay for mine; my boss bought it for me) but the majority can get a very decent iPhone 4S or a very good Android (my last Android cost like fifty bucks after a two-year contract and it was amazing). And if you have one of those, you have access to their app stores, which automates all kinds of awesomeness.
Even the stuff that’s too expensive for hoi polloi is fun to read about online. Why not create things people will buy? In ten years, it might be cheap enough that it could be an item for every household. Initial products are usually more expensive. Then they improve them and they get better and they get cheaper, as we’ve seen. As they improve, this in turn inspires other improvements that couldn’t have been expected. There are apps revolutionizing healthcare, education, business processes in general. Processes are becoming more efficient and improving responses and results, and that’s amazing.
Anything that makes me feel like I’m one of the Jetsons is okay in my book.
I think it’s called the ‘Apple Watch’, not ‘iWatch’. It’s now going the same way as the ‘iPod Touch’, back when everybody else was calling it the ‘iTouch’. LOL. ANd funny you should mention a self-driving car. That might not be too far off in the future as well. And still an Apple.